I am 61 straight monogamous male in hospital in Nigeria has been diagnosed with HIV. Docs say they can't say how long, as I know nothing about HIV when I went back to clinic doc said something was 280 and gave me meds, but wasn't worried plus slight liver damage which would repair with meds. Didn't think to ask what was 280 (still in shock I think) does anything there give any indication of how long I might have been infected


Hello and thanks for posting from Nigeria.

Nigeria has the second highest number of people living with HIV in the world, with over 3 million estimated cases. Yet, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 2017 Global Report, only a third of people living with HIV are aware of their diagnosis.

I'm sorry to learn about your recent diagnosis. I agree with your doctors; in nearly all cases, it's impossible to learn from lab results when you were infected with HIV.

The lab result ("280") that you reference is undoubtedly your CD4 cell count. CD4s are the cells that are primarily infected with HIV and the cells which are responsible for orchestrating your immune response to infections and some cancers. Normal CD4s range values range from 350 to over 1000 in healthy people and vary considerably from day to day. Your CD4 level is below normal, indicating that you've likely had HIV for at least a while.

It's good to know that you've started on medications. Irrespective of CD4 cell count or clinical symptoms, HIV treatment (called antiretroviral therapy or ART) is recommended for people living and diagnosed with HIV infection. Starting treatment reduces your risk of having health complications and can eliminate your risk of transmitting the virus to others. This recommendation is especially urgent for older people, in whom the health benefit of early treatment appears to be greater.

Once diagnosed and on treatment, your life expectancy and quality of life can be very good. So, work to stay adherent to your medications and to develop a trusting, working relationship with your care providers.

Feel free to write me back at TheBody's Forum. Be well, BY